The newly released collection of The Great British Baking Show only contains one episode on Netflix as of right now with a thumbnail that announces, "new episodes weekly." Similarly, the upcoming rap competition series Rhythm & Flow will release episodes in batches. The first four episodes will be released on October 9 and will reveal the American Idol-style auditions with judges T.I., Cardi B, and Chance the Rapper. Then, episodes 5-7 will be released on October 16, and episodes 8-10 will follow on October 23.
It seems Netflix may be rethinking some aspects of its model in light of competition from upcoming streaming platforms, and has started to release certain shows one episode at a time, going against the binge-culture it helped create. So far, Netflix has restricted the practice to its reality competition series dependent on weekly eliminations.
The model of weekly releases allows the shows to keep the tension of elimination alive when it would be all too easy for fans to skip a few episodes to get to the end, but they aren't the only streaming platform to begin this change. The highly anticipated Star Wars series from Disney Plus, The Mandalorian, is expected to drop on the internet weekly as well. Hulu also has followed this model for many of its shows. Sometimes, this is due to licensing the content rather than producing it, other times they simply release a few episodes to test the waters and then release the rest of the series weekly. Either way, the streaming world seems to be at a crossroads.
On the one hand, Netflix has found itself in some dangerous waters by pushing for its subscribers to binge. They've been accused of canceling shows prematurely because they leave such a short window for the content to be discovered before making a decision on its future. With so many options available, many shows may be left in the cue as viewers slowly chip away at the programs before it. In the past, buzz has been created one episode at a time, allowing word to spread at a slower pace in order to build a following before the networks made a choice whether to kill it or not. Maybe a weekly release schedule will bring this back, not to mention, fans will have something to discuss at the water cooler the following day.
On the other hand, serialized television, which follows a continuous story arc rather than rely on stand-alone episodes with their own contained story, is arguably best consumed as a single, very long, viewing. The shift to binge-culture has allowed creators the freedom to structure shows more like movies than ever before. Whether streaming services will make this distinction between crafts is yet to be known.
There is plenty of content left to binge on Netflix, however. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance was just released, Mindhunter's new second season received rave reviews, and 13 Reason Why season 3 is currently available. Now that many of the Network shows have wrapped up, they've landed on Netflix as well. The latest seasons from Marvel's Agents of Shield, The Good Place and The Walking Dead are ready to binge. Upcoming Netflix releases include the limited series Unbelievable coming Sept 13 as well as new seasons of Jon Favreau's The Chef Show and The Ranch. This story was first reported on by Comic Book.